Amel Najjar




United States


Not for Profit



By Amel Najjar

The “Red Pill” experience

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” –Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)

The “rabbit hole” adventure & discovery came to life at Oxford…

My journey at Oxford began with the Women Transforming Leadership course in 2016, where I met many new friends who were all looking to better lead the world around them, both personally and professionally.  It was then when I realized the conversations I had at Oxford with students and professors alike, were relevant and intriguing, I learned so much in so little time.  A sense of awareness had dawned on me, I’ve travelled the world, so I thought.  I realized that I was just getting a glimpse of what is really out there, and I wanted to see more.

During that time, I learned of the EMBA, a programme that has everything I was looking for to advance, learn about different industries, interact with an international community and expand my horizon.  I want to change my way of thinking, rather than looking at everything at face value, and learn how to look at the world around me with an analytical lens, forward and innovative.  My time outside of my family and research is spent with a non-profit organization, Children of War Foundation.  Our mission at COWF is to provide life altering surgical care and sustainable aid to children in need, globally.  It’s been almost seven years since the inception of the organization, the state of the international community has changed drastically, volatile at times, with barriers torn down and many more being built.  With the complexities and challenges I face within my organization today, I felt the need to change things up and pursue a vision that I am hopeful will be defined at Oxford.  When I left Oxford at that time, I felt like my mind was free, a “Matrix” moment, as if I could stop time and take a closer look at everything around me, and rather than walking a path, I knew the path.

Fast forward a couple of months and now I’ve now left Oxford again, completing Module 1 of the EMBA, a whirlwind experience, it was exactly what I anticipated & wanted and so much more.  The EMBA cohort is dynamic, diverse and truly unique, I felt that we as a cohort are already life time friends, collaborators and at the rate we’re going, business partners.  We covered a wide range of subjects within a week, from debate, leadership fundamentals, analytics, to questioning theories and ideology presented to us.

One of the guest speakers presented the idea that the modern world is going through “a second renaissance” and I find myself digging in, wanting to know more and if in fact we are, then how do I apply it to my vision coming out of the EMBA?  I found myself learning and exploring different ways of business, most of it from exchanging ideas and experiences, in both intimate and group discussions.   The first week was intense and invigorating, but this time, that “Matrix” moment shook me up and reality hit me.

Upon returning home, I felt that I was given a small portion of the “red pill,” landing in bustling Los Angeles, hitting the ground running, it was like a “Matrix” awakening.  I came home to my kids, my husband, two old dogs, a lot work, and the constant breaking news with anything and everything President Trump!  And then I realized, I chose the “red pill,” a Hollywood culture symbol from the famed “Matrix” movie, and I am now questioning the world around me.  I feel that others are moving at a slower pace, I’m analyzing, thinking & looking deeper, really paying attention to everything around me, as if everyone else is living in the “blue pill” illusion.  This “red pill” experience is exactly what I needed right now, a stimulant to “think, fast and slow.” I look forward to Module 2 and digging deeper into the rabbit hole………. At least for now.

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  • Antonio Potenza

    Well done Amel! Nicely written and proud to be part of your red-pill experience. You are doing a fantastic job, providing relief and hope to the despaired of this world.